More than a dozen IT jobs created in Dublin by Belfast IT consultancy firm Leaf are to be followed by a recruitment drive for more IT experts on this side of the border.
Leaf's managing director Steven Goldblatt said the 13 new jobs created during its expansion in the Irish capital mark a move towards even further growth, which is set to be reflected in Belfast.
Growth trends in the sector have traditionally seen IT businesses from the Republic targeting Belfast.
Leaf is understood to be among the first firms of its kind – if not the very first – to break the trend and push for work in the south.
Michael Noble, chief executive of the digital sector's industry body Momentum, said he didn't know of any other similar firms to expand into the Republic.
He said firms typically upgrade internationally with expansion into the south usually taken up by firms from North America and the UK.
"It's great for the local economy and shows a continued success of the IT computing sector," Mr Noble said.
Mr Goldblatt told the Business Telegraph that his firm, established in 2003, will soon start a recruitment drive to employ up to six IT professionals for its Weavers Court base in south Belfast.
And he revealed that a further 10 people – mostly technical engineers and technical architects – will be sought to join the Belfast team within the next 12 months.
He said the move into Dublin's Harcourt Road area in May was a timely one – and based on the city's position as Ireland's main focal point of economic trade and cloud computing. Leaf invested €750,000 (just under £600,000) to launch the new premises, after recently retaining its position as Microsoft Ireland's cloud partner and IT-managed services provider.
It opened the office with three personnel and is expanding the team with an additional 10 IT workers by the end of this year.
Mr Goldblatt revealed plans are in the pipeline to expand its existing Belfast enterprise.
He said: "We are already in negotiations at the moment with our current landlord to grow into a much larger space, in the same area, or that could mean we would have to take a second place here in Belfast."
Leaf's business currently focuses on SMEs of around 250 users, but it does have the capacity to meet the needs of businesses of up to 1,000. It works with both the private and public sector, and for clients as diverse as cleaning and law firms, with clients including Robinson Services and Tughans Solicitors.
Mr Goldblatt said its services give firms constant access to business data, adding that it will now be targeting its services at Northern Ireland's top 100 companies.